Author Topic: Midnight Fast  (Read 3507 times)

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Offline Malleus

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Midnight Fast
« on: March 25, 2015, 11:10:08 PM »
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  • I know that before Pope Pius XII, the Communion Fast was from midnight. How is this? Was this more for Priests, Religious etc. who were probably awake at those hours? Because I would think 99% of the faithful would have been asleep long before midnight.

    Sorry if this questions is stupid but I don't understand why it was from midnight if most of the members of the Church would be asleep by then I would think.

    And at what time was the Mass? Were there no Masses after noon? How could you receive Holy Communion in a Mass after noon?

    Offline poche

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    Midnight Fast
    « Reply #1 on: March 25, 2015, 11:26:25 PM »
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  • The midnight fast applied to everybody This was one of the reasons for infrequent communion.
    I know of some people who still observe this fast. I saw someone faint at mass because they had fasted from midnight and mass was at 2:00 pm.


    Offline MaterDominici

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    Midnight Fast
    « Reply #2 on: March 25, 2015, 11:27:37 PM »
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  • Quote from: Malleus
    And at what time was the Mass? Were there no Masses after noon? How could you receive Holy Communion in a Mass after noon?


    I just learned this recently, but afternoon Masses were not allowed at that time. (Well, I think technically 1 pm was the latest Mass could begin.)
    "If I could only make the faithful sing the Kyrie, the Gloria, the Credo, the Sanctus and the Agnus Dei ... that would be to me the finest triumph sacred music could have, for it is in really taking part in the liturgy that the faithful will preserve their devotion. I would take the Tantum ...

    Offline poche

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    Midnight Fast
    « Reply #3 on: March 25, 2015, 11:27:58 PM »
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  • nd at what time was the Mass? Were there no Masses after noon? How could you receive Holy Communion in a Mass after noon?

    Fr Czisek reported that there were people in the gulags who fasted all day so that they could recieve Holy Communnion at one of his nightly masses.

    Offline poche

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    Midnight Fast
    « Reply #4 on: March 25, 2015, 11:30:20 PM »
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  • Quote from: MaterDominici
    Quote from: Malleus
    And at what time was the Mass? Were there no Masses after noon? How could you receive Holy Communion in a Mass after noon?


    I just learned this recently, but afternoon Masses were not allowed at that time. (Well, I think technically 1 pm was the latest Mass could begin.)

    I am told that St John the Baptist in New Orleans had a 2:00 mass. It was known as the "last chance mass."
     


    Offline Malleus

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    Midnight Fast
    « Reply #5 on: March 25, 2015, 11:53:01 PM »
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  • Quote from: poche
    The midnight fast applied to everybody This was one of the reasons for infrequent communion.
    I know of some people who still observe this fast. I saw someone faint at mass because they had fasted from midnight and mass was at 2:00 pm.


    But who would be awake at midnight or after for the fast to start at that time?

    Offline Malleus

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    Midnight Fast
    « Reply #6 on: March 25, 2015, 11:56:50 PM »
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  • Quote from: MaterDominici
    Quote from: Malleus
    And at what time was the Mass? Were there no Masses after noon? How could you receive Holy Communion in a Mass after noon?


    I just learned this recently, but afternoon Masses were not allowed at that time. (Well, I think technically 1 pm was the latest Mass could begin.)


    That make sense.

    Offline Malleus

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    Midnight Fast
    « Reply #7 on: March 26, 2015, 12:00:49 AM »
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  • Quote from: poche
    This was one of the reasons for infrequent communion.


    Why would this make Communion infrequent? If you went in the morning (assuming you would wake up at 6, for instance) you would only fast a couple of hours.


    Offline poche

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    Midnight Fast
    « Reply #8 on: March 26, 2015, 03:18:22 AM »
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  • Quote from: Malleus
    Quote from: poche
    This was one of the reasons for infrequent communion.


    Why would this make Communion infrequent? If you went in the morning (assuming you would wake up at 6, for instance) you would only fast a couple of hours.

    Not everybody wakes up at 6:00am. the fast applied to everybody. You were expected to fast (not eat anything, not drink anything) from midnight until you recieved Holy Communion. So when people went to mass, particulary the later ones, they would have already had something to eat and they didn't recieve Holy Communion.  

    Offline Nadir

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    Midnight Fast
    « Reply #9 on: March 26, 2015, 03:25:45 AM »
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  • Quote from: Malleus
    I know that before Pope Pius XII, the Communion Fast was from midnight. How is this? Was this more for Priests, Religious etc. who were probably awake at those hours? Because I would think 99% of the faithful would have been asleep long before midnight.

    Sorry if this questions is stupid but I don't understand why it was from midnight if most of the members of the Church would be asleep by then I would think.

    And at what time was the Mass? Were there no Masses after noon? How could you receive Holy Communion in a Mass after noon?


    I can't remember exactly but I believe it was also during the reign of Pius XII that we fasted from midnight. Of course we didn't actually fast from midnight; we fasted from the last meal of the previous day which could be around 6 pm. I never got up to have a pre-midnight snack and it was no major inconvenience. Not a big deal at all. The fast was for all Catholics who were going to receive Holy Communion during the Mass.

    It was from midnight because that is the start of a new day.

    Masses were (in our parish) every hour starting at 6am with the last one at 11am if my memory serves me correctly. We never had an afternoon mass or even a mid-day Mass. In fact if you wanted to have a Nuptial Mass you had a morning wedding. It was the custom, and I suppose similarly for Requiem Masses, though I don't remember attending any.

    Poche said:  
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    This was one of the reasons for infrequent communion.


    I disagree. The fast did not stopping people from receiving Holy Communion. If you were a diabetic you would of course be exempt from the fast. Also people would not have to travel very far to get to Mass as they do nowadays, unless you lived way out in the country, and then you were most likely made of stronger stuff.

    Fasting these days seems to be regarded as something quite risky! :facepalm:

    Offline JMacQ

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    Midnight Fast
    « Reply #10 on: March 26, 2015, 03:25:51 AM »
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  • Fasting from midnight meant not eating and not drinking since midnight until communion. Malleus, there was no need to be awake at midnight for that!

    My dear grandmother refused to drink even water until she received. Later I found out that water did break the Eucharistic fast until early XX century.

    Masses were much earlier than now, as early as 4.30 in some Dublin churches. Which means that some received communion less than one hour since awaking. In this perspective, fasting from midnight was not as hard as it sounds.

    Another thing an old priest told me is that the Eucharistic fast from midnight has a practical aspect especially for elderly priests, who cannot leave the altar once the mass has started, no matter the urge. I wonder if everybody attending mass should be fasting, that would prevent the constant trips to the facilities. When I was young there were no public facilities in the churches. I guess we had stronger bladders. Of course, sermons were short and communion on Sunday was given before and after the mass.
    O Mary, conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to thee!
    Praised be Jesus ad Mary!

    "Is minic a gheibhean beal oscailt diog dunta"


    Offline Nadir

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    Midnight Fast
    « Reply #11 on: March 26, 2015, 03:32:09 AM »
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  • Quote from: JMacQ
    ... communion on Sunday was given before and after the mass.


    Why so? I've never heard the like before.

    Offline JMacQ

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    Midnight Fast
    « Reply #12 on: March 26, 2015, 04:29:22 AM »
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  • I can only assume that it was because of the very large number of Sunday communicants (hundreds) and the idea that no mass should go over 45-50 mn. We had sung masses at Easter and Christmas, and not even that in many churches in Ireland. All that changed in the mid fifties. Maybe some old-timers remember a similar situation in their countries.
    O Mary, conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to thee!
    Praised be Jesus ad Mary!

    "Is minic a gheibhean beal oscailt diog dunta"

    Offline Ladislaus

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    Midnight Fast
    « Reply #13 on: March 26, 2015, 08:38:53 AM »
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  • Changing the midnight fast to 3 hours coincided with the permission to have afternoon / evening Masses.

    Offline B from A

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    Midnight Fast
    « Reply #14 on: March 26, 2015, 09:09:13 AM »
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  • Quote from: Malleus
    Sorry if this questions is stupid


     :popcorn:   I'm glad you asked, because it generated some interesting responses.  The replies of Mater, Nadir, JMacQ and Ladislaus are particularly helpful.  I especially appreciate anecdotal stories such as JMacQ provided.  Knowing more about the whys and wherefores of fasting rules & practices is helpful, IMO.

    Quote
    and then you were most likely made of stronger stuff.

    Quite.

    BTW, speaking of fasting, I am not really snacking on popcorn on this Lenten day.   :wink:

     

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